Life in Caras Galadhon | 119 4A +

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Life in Caras Galadhon | 119 4A +

Post by Nara-pyon on Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:56 pm

Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Year: 119 F.A.
Status: Mettarë

Aranxia loved life in Caras Galadhon. She absolutely adored it. There was, she was completely certain, nothing in this world that could ever entice her to return to the place where she had been born and raised. She had married the man that she loved. They had recently celebrated their third anniversary. Their son was two years old, and Aranxia was expecting their second child in about a month and a half. She had a beautiful home with an ocean view – particularly spectacular at sunset – and she was able to help her husband earn a living by painting, a love for which she had inherited from her grandmother.

Even when it came to friends and family, she was not lacking. Not only had Aennan’s friends become her own – dear Dwr and Ta’neer, and Aysu – but her cousin, River, who shared the exact same birthday as her, and River’s husband, Jess, had also come to live in Caras Galadhon, and lived with their daughter only about two minutes’ walk from where Aranxia now lived. She could communicate with her parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and sister whenever she liked, too, using the magic she had learned from the former High-Druidess that had once been her roommate, and so homesickness was not a problem that plagued her. And of course, Aennan’s family had also become her own, and though it was more difficult now with a two-year-old and a rather sizeable belly, she tried her best to visit Lykor and Galanna – especially Galanna – whenever possible.

In fact, there was really only one aspect of Aranxia’s new life in Caras Galadhon that she was not satisfied with. In her first year there, when Aennan had been courting her, she had been approached by Aennan’s employer, Amanya, the head librarian, and the two of them had had a conversation that had left Aranxia in tears. While Amanya’s intentions had been for the best, and she had shown remorse for the way the scene had ended, Aranxia had never really felt comfortable with her after that – nor did Amanya feel comfortable around Aranxia. Aennan had explained to Aranxia that Amanya felt guilty every time she saw Aranxia, but that did nothing to assuage Aranxia’s discomfort. If anything, it made her more self-conscious.

Still, Aranxia had never been one to let a sticky situation alone. She always felt as if she had to fix things – especially relationships. And this one was no exception.

Usually, on the last day of the year, Aysu, Dwr, Ta’neer, Aennan and Aranxia would get together at someone’s house to celebrate the passing of the old year and the arrival of the new year. So far, their two celebrations had been hosted by Aysu and Ta’neer (before Ta’neer and Dwr had been married), and then by Ta’neer and Dwr. This year, it was Aennan and Aranxia’s turn to host their friends – which would now include Jess, River and Kaera – and Aranxia had a request for Aennan.

“I know it’s last-minute,” she told him when she broached the subject over breakfast, “but do you think Amanya might like to join us tonight? I know she has no family, and you’ve mentioned it seems as if she has no friends. I wonder if she might be lonely …”

She had been worried that perhaps Aennan might have wanted to keep his social life separate from his work life, but a wide smile lit up his entire face.

“I think that’s a wonderful idea,” he beamed. Then he faltered. “But are you certain? It wouldn’t make you uncomfortable?”

“Well, that’s the point,” she smiled in reply, her every bearing exuding patience. “Things between us right now are not comfortable, and I would like them to be. Besides, if you’re right in your assessment of her, she needs someone to invite her into their circle. She hasn’t one of her own.”

Aennan considered her words. She was right. In all of his life, for as long as he could remember, he had never seen Amanya in conversation with anyone unless it was about the library, or she was tutoring someone. He knew that she was always at the library before he arrived every morning, and she stayed until well past dark – even in the Summer, when darkness arrived so late in the evening.

“Well,” he began; but he was interrupted when a piece of Aereandir’s egg hit him on the cheek. He peeled it off and set it back on his son’s plate. “Well, I think it’s admirable,” he resumed, smiling as he helped Aereandir cut his egg into small pieces so he could pick it up easily with his fingers. “If you’re certain, then, I’ll ask her today if she would like to come.”

Aranxia smiled. “Wonderful. And you can let her know that she doesn’t need to worry about bringing anything, and that she is most welcome for dinner, if she wishes. Otherwise, about twenty five hours is good.”

“Will do.” Finished eating, Aennan rose to leave, but Aranxia reached for his sleeve as he passed by her.

“You’re forgetting something,” she smiled at him, her eyes bright with amusement as she tugged him towards her.

Aennan chuckled and leaned forward, closing his eyes for a kiss, but instead, Aranxia picked up a cloth from the table and wiped the egg from his cheek.

“Much better,” she grinned, trying not to laugh at the expression on her husband’s face. “All right, now you’re ready. I’ll see you this afternoon.”

Aennan’s expression went from surprised to disappointed, and he turned again to leave. “See you this afternoon,” he said softly as he headed for the door.

He was reaching for his cloak when Aranxia burst into giggles. She pushed back her chair and hurried after him. When he turned to look, she slid her arms around his waist and leaned into him.

“You can’t honestly believe that I would let you go to work without a kiss, could you?” she murmured mischievously, and pressed her lips against his.

He smiled and kissed her warmly. “I confess, I was rather shocked.” He kissed her again, then knelt down and pressed a light kiss to her swollen belly. “So long, little one,” he murmured with a smile. Then, with one final kiss to Aranxia’s forehead, he leaned forward to peer into the dining room and called out, “Bye, Aereandir. Be good for Mama.”

The little navy-haired boy waved an egg-covered hand. “Bah bah!”
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Re: Life in Caras Galadhon | 119 4A +

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:08 pm

Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Year: 119 F.A.
Status: Mettarë

The day was very busy for Aranxia. In addition to her usual daily tasks, she had five or six people coming for the evening as well. She spent the entire morning baking and cleaning, and when Aennan returned home from work, she handed Aereandir off to him, bathed, and took an hour-long nap. When she woke, River had already arrived to help out with more preparations. With Aereandir and Kaera playing under Aennan’s supervision, the two women had a full banquet ready by the time the other guests began to arrive.

Aysu was the first to arrive – but as she still lived with her parents, she had no extra responsibilities to take care of, and so she was usually the first to arrive anywhere. Jess came shortly after, and Aranxia ushered him to the others.

When the next knock came, Aranxia was pleased – and slightly surprised, since Aennan had reported that Amanya had been unsure when she would come – to see the librarian with a bottle in her hands, a bow tied around its neck.

“Amanya!” Aranxia beamed. “Welcome! Please, come in.”

“Thank you.” Amanya smiled at Aranxia. She appeared nervous, and her voice was soft, lacking confidence. She held the bottle out to her hostess as she stepped inside. “Here. I … I wasn’t sure what you would be serving, but I thought … some wine … for the celebration …”

Aranxia was touched by the thought. “Thank you, I’m sure the others will appreciate it.”

Amanya’s eyes flitted to Aranxia’s pregnancy-swollen belly, and colour rose in her cheeks. Before she could say anything, though, Aranxia invited her to hang up her cloak and remove her boots and led her to the sitting room, where the others were sitting while the children played on the floor (or rather, Aereandir played while Kaera crawled after him). Very soon, Dwr and Ta’neer arrived with their son, Sumel, who was only a few weeks younger than Kaera; and after a few final preparations in the dining room, everything was ready.

Since Aranxia had already done so much work that day, Aennan took up the task of serving everyone. The chatter around the table was animated and friendly, punctuated with laughter. One voice was notably absent from the joviality: Amanya, the outsider, was watching and listening, but either felt that she had little to offer or else did not feel comfortable among others who were so familiar with each other. In all honesty, even Aennan, who had known her the longest, did not know which it was.

“Excellent choice of wine,” Aysu toasted Aranxia partway through the meal.

“Oh, don’t account it to me,” Aranxia smiled. She raised her glass of apple juice towards Amanya and passing on the toast. “Amanya was thoughtful enough to bring it tonight.”

Colour rose in Amanya’s cheeks, and she lowered her bi-coloured eyes self-consciously even as the others around the table also voiced their approval.

With the number of courses that had been prepared, the number of people who were present, and the rarity of how often they were now able to get together, the meal lasted quite a long time. The conversation flowed so long that all three of the children fell asleep long before the feast was over. Aereandir was put in his bed, and Kaera and Sumel were laid on the playroom floor so that they would be out of the way. Finally, Aranxia rose and began to clear the table, and the others joined in so that the task would not take very long. Then they all retired to the sitting room for games and more conversation.

Aranxia didn’t feel energetic enough to participate in a game, but she sat next to her husband while most the others participated in a table-top tile game. Ta’neer, also feeling less than energetic, sat back from the table and played on her conch-shell instrument, though she would periodically stop playing to participate in the conversation as well.

The evening stretched on, the snacks disappeared from their plates, and from time to time someone would glance up at the clock on the fireplace mantle to check the time.

At a minute to midnight, they stopped and topped up their glasses again, and when the clock hit midnight exactly, they toasted the arrival of the new year. Aranxia excused herself to begin cleaning up while the others finished up their game, and headed to the kitchen, taking with her the empty plates and glasses.

When she arrived in the kitchen, she was surprised to find that she was not alone: Amanya had followed her.

Amanya spoke before Aranxia had the opportunity.

“I … I wanted to thank you,” she murmured. “For tonight. I … can’t say that anyone has ever … that is, I mean to say … I … I really enjoyed the evening.”

Aranxia smiled widely. “I’m glad to hear it,” she said, her voice bright with sincerity.

Amanya blushed, but a slow, shy smile spread across her face as well. “I’m sure it can’t have been easy for you to invite me …”

“Nonsense.” Aranxia waved the thought away. “I should have done it sooner.”

Her comment seemed only to embarrass the librarian further. “Despite the way we met, and our first … the way I spoke to you … the way that I treated you …”

Aranxia placed a hand on Amanya’s shoulder. “You were concerned for Aennan,” she said firmly. “You didn’t want him to be hurt, and you wanted to know where I stood. I understand that. And it shows how much you also care for him. Believe me; I have long since forgiven you for the way I felt after that conversation.”

Relief etched Amanya’s face, and her shoulders loosened, a sign of tenseness leaving her body. “I … I don’t know what to say …”

“There’s no need to say anything,” Aranxia assured her with a warm smile. “I hope that we can be good friends, you and I.”

Amanya looked at Aranxia, a smile blossoming on her face. “I would like that. Thank you.”

Acting on instinct, without giving it a thought, Aranxia hugged the older woman. Then, smiling, both of them turned to the task at hand. Together.
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Re: Life in Caras Galadhon | 119 4A +

Post by Nara-pyon on Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:56 pm

Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Year: 120 F.A.
Status: Yestarë

The first day of the new year dawned too early for Aranxia, despite the fact that it was nearly lunch time by the time she woke. She probably would have slept longer, too – but Aereandir’s playful squeals coming from downstairs reminded her that she didn’t have the luxury of sleeping the day away.

It had never been this hard to wake up the morning after a Mettarë celebration before. But then, she hadn’t been halfway through a pregnancy during a Mettarë celebration, either. She rolled slowly out of bed, splashed water on her face, dressed, brushed her hair and pulled it back, and then headed downstairs to greet the day. Long before she reached the kitchen, the smell of omelettes reached her nostrils.

“It smells wonderful down here,” she breathed as she entered.

Aereandir had been running around the table, but at the sound of Aranxia’s voice, he squealed, “Mama! Mama!” and came running at her, arms wide.

Aennan was working at the stove, and now he took the pan off the stove and set it on a hotplate on the counter. As Aereandir threw his arms around Aranxia’s legs and squeezed, Aennan smiled at her.

“Happy birthday,” he greeted her. Putting one arm around her so that they wouldn’t lose their balance from Aereandir pushing against her legs, he drew her close and pressed a slow, lingering kiss to her lips.

She leaned into him as he pulled away, but stopped when her balance became questionable. “Thank you,” she murmured, smiling and partially breathless. She knelt and picked up her son so that he wouldn’t trip her, then pulled out a chair and sat down, placing Aereandir carefully on her lap. As he had begun to do since her belly had begun to grow, he started poking at it, curious about it. No matter how many times Aennan and Aranxia had tried to explain it to him, he could not wrap his head around the idea that there was a baby in there.

“I heard you stirring,” Aennan explained as he pulled some dishes from the cupboard for her, “so I started some breakfast for you. I hope you’re hungry.”

While pregnant, her appetite was always unpredictable in the mornings – sometimes she was ravenous, sometimes she didn’t want anything at all. Today, she wasn’t particularly hungry, but she had to admit that the aroma of cooking food had begun her mouth watering.

“I’m sure you’ll finish what I don’t,” she replied lightly. “I just don’t want to eat so much that I’m not hungry for this evening.”

It was both her and River’s birthdays, and the two families had decided weeks ago that they would celebrate the occasion together. As Aennan and Aranxia had hosted the Mettarë celebrations the night before, they would be heading to Jess and River’s house for dinner that evening.

“Eat what you can,” he husband advised her as he served her. “I admit, I would be happy to finish this for you as it smells absolutely delicious, if I do say so myself” – he grinned – “but at the same time, you do need the energy to get through the afternoon, and the baby needs it, too.”

“I will eat what I can,” she promised.

Aennan took Aereandir from her to make it easier for her to eat, and the two of them went off to another room. In a few minutes, they were back. Aennan was carrying a cloth-wrapped package, Aereandir toddling behind him.

“I considered saving this for tonight,” he grinned, sitting across from Aranxia and setting the package on the table, “but then I thought I’d prefer a nice private party of three might be nicer.”

When Aranxia opened the package, she laughed and agreed heartily that now had been the better time to open it. There were two parts to the gift: the first was a new family portrait, done by Lara; and the second was a new nightdress for her – the kind of thing that was as much for her husband as for her, and definitely not meant for anyone else but the two of them to see.

“You do realize it’s going to be a while before I can wear it,” she pointed out, eyes bright, rubbing her belly.

Aennan’s eyes were just as bright. “I’m patient,” he purred.

Aranxia laughed again and finished her breakfast.

Aennan had taken care of the house while Aranxia had been sleeping in, so there was no cleaning to do; and once they had taken care of the few dishes Aranxia’s breakfast had generated the three of them went for a long walk along the beach. It was cool outside, but only Aranxia needed a cloak to keep her warm from the ocean breeze: Aereandir had inherited his father’s immunity to the cold. There were subtle signs of spring all around them: the grass was beginning to turn green, though it was still mostly brown; what little snow there had been had all melted away; the chunks of ice that had, throughout Winter and Stirring, littered the shore had vanished, taken back into the ocean. When Aranxia tired and wanted to sit, Aennan took Aereandir for a swim until Aranxia’s energy was restored, and then they returned home.

When they headed over to Jess and River’s house, the cousins greeted each other with a warm hug, and as one they wished each other a happy twentieth birthday. The meal was simple yet delicious, and afterwards the two couples played a civilization-building card game that Aennan and Aranxia had created until Jess’s family arrived to celebrate River’s birthday as well. It was at that point that Aennan and Aranxia left, but they didn’t feel as though they had been pushed out: in fact, their departure had been planned for about that time anyways, as they had one last appointment to keep that evening.

Aranxia had just enough time for a quick bath for herself and then for her son before she joined her husband and son on the couch in front of the largest mirror in their house: the one above the fireplace mantle in the sitting room. It was specially fastened to the wall so that it could lean forward ever so slightly, reflecting down at the couch rather than straight across the room, or upwards to the ceiling. This had been a very deliberate design from the beginning, as it made it very comfortable for the whole family to visit with Aranxia’s parents halfway across the world.

“Do you think they’ll mind if we open the connection a little early?” she asked her husband with an excited and impatient smile.

“Somehow I doubt it,” he laughed. “Go ahead.”

Eager, Aranxia stepped up to the mirror and called up her magic to activate the connection with her parents’ mirror. When their bedchamber appeared in the mirror, she was surprised to see that no one was present yet.

“Odd,” she commented, puzzled, as she sat next to her husband again. “Usually they’re waiting for us.”

“Perhaps something has come up,” Aennan suggested, trying to reassure her. “I’m sure they’ll be here soon.”

They settled in to wait, and after a while, Aennan went off to make some tea – herbal drink – for himself and Aranxia. Aereandir sat on the floor at Aranxia’s feet, playing with blocks and piling them one on top of the other and then knocking them down again. When Aennan returned, he and Aranxia spoke quietly together as they sipped their tea. After half an hour, Aranxia was growing concerned, but Aennan remained calm.

“I’m sure that they must have just lost track of time,” he soothed her.

“It must be something quite huge if they’re this late on my birthday,” she sighed. She admitted, she was feeling a little selfish – but they would talk every week, and on special occasions such as birthdays, and in the years that Aranxia had been here, never once had anyone been late for a visit, on either end.

She hoped nothing had happened to anyone. It would make it understandable why they weren’t there yet, but … at the same time, she wanted it to be for a different reason.

She was getting quite drowsy, and Aereandir had fallen asleep on the floor, when she was startled into awareness once more by excited chatter coming from the mirror. She sat up and gripped her now-cold mug in both hands, her heart pounding.

Please let everyone be all right, she prayed as she waited for someone to appear in front of the mirror.

There was laughter from whoever was in the room, and Aennan smiled and squeezed her shoulder. “I told you they would be all right,” he murmured.

She smiled back at him before turning her attention back to the mirror.

“It’s about time someone showed up!” she called, relief making her voice shake. As her anxiety faded, sudden weakness swept over her, and she had to put her mug on a nearby table.

“Aranxia!” It was Regan who first sat in front of the mirror. There was such excitement on her face that Aranxia was confused again. It wasn’t as if they never saw each other, after all, and a birthday, while a special occasion, wasn’t that big a deal …

“What’s going on?” she asked. “We’ve been waiting for over an hour!”

Regan’s response was to laugh, which confused both Aranxia and Aennan even further. “Sorry, sorry,” she giggled. “It’s been … a rather crazy day. I know, such a vulgar term,” she apologized, raising one hand to stave off any possible protest, “but it’s true. Mother and Father will be here in a moment and then they’ll tell you more. They insisted on being the ones to tell you.”

Aranxia blinked, startled, and then, laughing again, Regan added, “By the way – happy birthday!”

Before Aranxia could thank her, her parents appeared behind Regan – as did her grandparents and her great-great-grandmother.

“Yes, happy birthday, dear,” Tinúviel beamed. “Honestly, we had meant to be here much earlier – we’re so sorry for making you wait!”

“You don’t look it,” Aennan commented with amusement.

“Well, we had a surprise yesterday that was rather exciting,” Queen Atalya said, her voice calm though her eyes were brighter than Aranxia could ever remember seeing them. “Your cousin Andarien was married today and we were invited to witness via mirror. We’ve only just come from there.”

Aranxia blinked and her jaw slackened. “Andarien?!” she gasped when she regained her ability to speak.

“Is that so hard to believe?” Aennan questioned, looking at his wife. “I mean, he is an adult …”

Aranxia wasn’t sure she could explain to her husband just why she was so shocked. He hadn’t known Andarien well at all – had really only met him once or twice. It wasn’t just that Andarien was only about five years old – he was a stage grower, and Aranxia had learned early in her own life what exactly that meant. But there was still something about him – he was just so … socially inept … had such trouble understanding such common things … so naïve, so immature …

“Does that mean he’s settling down somewhere?” she asked at length, looking back at her family. “Or is his wife joining them in traveling?”

“Funny story,” her father chuckled. “She’s actually from Gaia, like Andarien. Fell through a tear in the worlds and was traveling with them to get back home again.”

Gaia was a topic that Aennan understood – at least better than he understood why Aranxia was so shocked that her cousin would be getting married – and he asked, “What race is she, then?” After all, Gaian could mean anything at all.

“Elvish, I can’t remember her exact race,” Aranel smiled. “Something barely pronounceable. Like her name.”

“Sho … Shaw …” Tinúviel tried.

Others stepped in.

“Shau-”

“No, Shonah!”

“No, there’s an ay in there somewhere.”

“Shayna?”

“Shonay?”

“Shoneah,” Ruel spoke up quietly, silencing those around him.

Aranxia blinked. “Say it again?” she requested.

Ruel nodded. “Shoneah. Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch. Of the Aquinnashua Elves, somewhere in Gaia. She has been with the group for over two years now and still many of them can’t pronounce her name. They simply call her Silverbirch, which is a translation of her name.”

“Sho … ne … ah,” Aranxia murmured, trying it out on her tongue.

“Aquinnashua Elf doesn’t really tell us much about her,” Aennan pointed out with a bemused smile. “What does she look like?”

Immediately, Tinúviel turned to look over her shoulder. “Mother,” she began; but Lúthien was ahead of her. She hurried out of the mirror’s view and was back very quickly with a large canvas.

“It’s incomplete,” she apologized, holding it up to the mirror, “but this is from today.”

The only thing incomplete about the painting was the background – Andarien was clearly recognizable and in full colour, and his wife seemed complete as well. She shorter than Andarien, though not by much, but she was stunning in an outfit of green and gold that matched Andarien’s three-piece, long-tailed suit. Her skin was a sun-kissed tan, a colour similar to River and her sisters; but her hair was a shimmering silver, her eyes a misty grey.

“She’s beautiful,” Aranxia smiled.

“She is,” Queen Atalya murmured. “And very intelligent, and very much in love with Andarien.”

“And about the only one who understands him and his thoughts,” Tinúviel added with a laugh.

“All of the time,” Luthien added, visibly impressed.

Aennan looked at Aranxia again, this time looking so curious that she couldn’t leave his unasked question unanswered any longer.

“Andarien is a bit quirky,” she explained to him. “He always has been. He doesn’t understand social cues, he takes things very literally, and while he is an absolute genius when it comes to mechanical things, he can be completely clueless in other matters.”

Aennan arched a teal eyebrow at her. “And you couldn’t have explained that earlier?”

Aranxia just smiled at him, albeit rather sheepishly.

“You are going to tell us all about it, though, yes?” she asked instead, turning back to her family.

“How much we tell depends on how much energy you have,” her mother smiled back at her. “Truthfully, though, you look exhausted.”

“I won’t be able to sleep until my curiosity has been satisfied,” she pointed out.

“Hmm, getting cheeky, are you?” her father teased her.

Aennan chuckled. “Honestly, sir, she won’t. And if she doesn’t, I won’t be able to. She tosses and turns when her mind is busy, sometimes all night.”

“And Aennan does need to work in the morning,” Aranxia added.

Her parents laughed. “All right, you win. But if you fall asleep on us, then you’ll have to wait until next week. Deal?”

Instead of answering her father, Aranxia turned to her husband. “If I look like I’m going to fall asleep, poke me,” she ordered him.

He grinned back at her. “As you wish.”
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